Dylan Larkin talks about the skate that lacerated Brendan Perlini's face. The Detroit News
Buffalo — The Red Wings were just here less than a week ago, but the result was different this time.
Buffalo rallied from one-goal deficits twice before finally taking the lead and earning a 3-2 victory — avenging Thursday's shootout win by the Wings.
Buffalo’ Sam Reinhart scored 57 seconds into the third period, breaking a 2-2 tie, and sending the Sabres to victory.
Sabres forward Jack Eichel kicked an errant puck toward goalie Jonathan Bernier.
Bernier attempted to glove the puck, but couldn’t control it where it lay by him near the crease. Reinhart jabbed the loose puck into the net for his 21st goal.
“It’s disappointing for sure,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “You start off the game and you have the lead right away, and there’s a lot of hockey left, but another lead, and it’s disappointing. It felt like a close game, it felt like a game where chances were going to be even and unfortunately they got one more than us.
“We want to find our way to those wins as we move forward.”
Darren Helm scored two goals in his return after missing two games, and Anthony Mantha set up both goals, also in his first game since Dec. 21. Conor Sheary and Marcus Johansson had Sabres' goals.
The game had one of the scarier moments of the season in the first period when forward Brendan Perlini collided along the boards and had Sabres forward Henri Jokiharju’s skate brush against Perlini’s face.
Perlini suffered a deep laceration to his nose and did not return. Perlini declined to talk to reporters at length afterward but did say he felt fortunate and thankful it didn’t impact his vision.
“It looked terrible,” Mantha said. “We kind of saw it coming like slow motion on the ice. It’s terrible. Both teams don’t want to see that, a skate to the face. No matter how much hate you have (to the other team), it’s just a terrible thing.”
Dylan Larkin said the incident was “scary.”
“He’s a great player who is just starting to hit his stride with us and to see that from the bench, we got a pretty good look, it’s scary,” Larkin said.
“Anytime a guy gets a skate that high, and it seemed like slow motion, too, it just came across and got him. Obviously unintentional, just a scary play.”
Perlini will travel with the Wings to Newark, New Jersey, but any further medical update or availability to play, said Blashill, will not be known until Thursday (the Wings aren’t practicing Wednesday).
Anthony Mantha talks about the incident involving Brendan Perlini and the skate that lacerated Perlini's face. The Detroit News
“Brendan is doing good, it cut him around, underneath the eye, and around the nose, basically a large facial laceration in the nose area,” Blashill said.
“He was thankful, I was thankful, we were scared when it first happened and saw it that it had gone near his eye. You worry the most about that.
“It was just an unfortunate situation when the skate came up and he was falling and it caught him in the face.”
Helm opened the game’ scoring on the first shift.
With the Sabres basically standing around, Helm raced to the net and jabbed in his own rebound past goalie Carter Hutton (27 saves), who himself didn’t look quite ready to start the game just 27 seconds in.
But the Sabres answered on the very next shift.
Sheary received a set-up pass from Johansson near the slot, and snapped a shot on the first shot that Bernier (22 saves) saw, at 1:03.
The Wings took a 2-1 lead on Helm’s second goal, and eighth of the season, at 7:02.
Mantha had the puck near the corner and centered a pass to Helm in the slot. Helm whistled a backhand past Hutton.
In his first game since suffering a punctured lung on Dec. 21, in a fight with Toronto’s Jake Muzzin, Mantha had a couple of decent scoring chances and set up Helm for two goals, making an immediate impact (19 minutes 36 seconds, 4 shots, 2 hits).
“The legs were a little heavy but it was something I was expecting,” Mantha said. “It felt good to be in the mix and I played a lot of minutes tonight, so hopefully it’ll come back quick.”
Blashill was impressed with Mantha’s return to the ice.
“He was skating well, in the forecheck, physical and ripping shots,” Blashill said. “That line was good (Mantha, Larkin, Helm). It was good to have Anthony playing at that level and when he plays at that level, he’s one of the better players in the league.”